The ways in which people identify with faith and belief in the UK are changing. In fact, research suggests that we are seeing the most fundamental shift in this respect for centuries, even millennia.
In this four-part virtual conference, we look ahead to the UK's likely faith and belief landscape of 2040, based on current trajectories, and take the opportunity to examine and prepare for the many challenges and opportunities that society might face.
The changes we examine include:
- The declining number of people who identify as ‘Anglican’ and rising numbers of non-denominational Christians,
- The increasing number of people (particularly younger people) who hold non-religious beliefs or have no beliefs.
- The increasing diversity of modes of faith and belief practice within Christian communities
- The expansion and growing role of non-Christian faiths.
Convened using freely available video-conferencing software, this conference involves guest panellists of different ages and perspectives, from a range of faith and non-faith backgrounds, to help us identify constructive ways of preparing for the changes that lie ahead.
Faith & Belief 2040: Religious Diversity - 11am-12:30pm, Tuesday 10 November 2020
This opening session introduces some of the major issues around diversity and identity in the UK today, as they relate to religion and belief. We explore the key transformations taking place in majority and minority religious or belief communities, and examine their implications for wider society. Panellists will offer insights into ongoing trends and highlight some of the most significant social, economic and political factors that are likely to influence them over the next 20 years.
Faith & Belief 2040: Impacts on Identity - 11am-12:30pm, Thursday 12 November 2020
This session examines the importance of affiliation to a particular religion or belief, for identity and a sense of belonging. We explore the potential for nurturing more inclusive forms of belonging, across religious and faith communities.
Faith & Belief 2040: Social Cohesion - 11am-12:30pm, Tuesday 17 November 2020
For some, the notion that faith has a role to play in addressing issues of social cohesion is inherently problematic. For others, faith communities are critical and pivotally placed partners, both locally and globally, and should therefore be involved in relevant conversations. This third session examines the role that people of faith and people with non-religious worldviews can play in promoting greater more inclusive and socially cohesive communities.
Faith & Belief 2040: Moral Courage - 11am-12:30pm, Thursday 19 November 2020
The impact and influence of religious voices and perspectives are likely to transform as the UK’s faith and belief landscape changes. Our final session explores the changing relationship between religious groups and leaders, and politicians. We discuss where moral courage, based on common ground and shared values, might come from, in a less religious and more religiously diverse society.
How to join
You can join our conference sessions on Zoom, as a video or non-video participant, with the chance to interact with fellow participants and guest panellists via our live polls, question-and-answer opportunities and breakout sessions. Everyone is welcome.
If you would like to take part in this virtual conference, please click the 'Make Enquiry' button on this webpage and we will send you details of how to join. We encourage everyone to attend all four sessions.
Given the scale and complexity of this subject, we are not setting out to define detailed solutions to the challenges and opportunities posed by the changing faith and belief landscape. Rather, we are bringing together a diverse group of people, from across the UK, to make new connections and start to explore the steps that policymakers, faith and community leaders, religious groups, organisations and individuals may need to take, to prepare for the transformations ahead.
As with all the discussions we host, our aim is to promote open dialogue and the exchange of views in a welcoming and inclusive environment. To support this, please note that the four sessions will be held under the Chatham House Rule, which means you should avoid directly attributing ideas or information gained to anyone in particular, when sharing them outside of the conference, including in posts on social media.
We plan to summarise the key themes and ideas that emerge from these discussions in a short Cumberland Lodge Report, to be published online and shared with policymakers, leaders, influencers, civil-society representatives and community practitioners.